It’s no secret that the headphones that come with portable players tend to be rather pants. Sure, some are better than others, like the ones that come with Sony’s new X Series Walkman, but even those can be easily beaten, and if you’re still using the shrill white buds that came with your iPod, well, shame on you, frankly.
If it’s price that’s been holding you back from upgrading, Sennheiser has the perfect answer in the form of these CX 300-II earbuds, which officially retail for £40 but can be had for significantly less online.
Cheap, but oh-so cheerful
As the model number suggests, this is the 2.0 version of the old CX300 design, and it neatly replaces it as the de facto first upgrade for any portable.
Whichever colour you choose (black, white, silver, red and pink are available), the Sennheiser’s look more up-market than you’d expect, without being flashy enough to attract any unwanted attention when you’re out and about.
The packaging includes a simple but effective pouch for keeping the buds clean in your bag or pocket, and the three types of bud provided should make it dead easy to find a snug fit.
Bags of bass
What first hits you when you play some music through the Sennheisers is how bassy they are, letting the simple, funky bottom-end of Marmaduke Duke’s Rubber Lover carry the track in infectiously charming, bouncy style.
The important thing is that as well as being deep, the bass is also tight and punchy, and it doesn’t colour or slow down the mid-range or treble. This means that vocals come through with great clarity, while cymbals have plenty of bite and sparkle.
Throw in impressive dynamics, excellent rhythmic precision, and a soundstage much wider than you’d expect, and you’ve got an affordable, all-round package. At this price, the CX 300-IIs are just unbeatable.